The Partnership for Healthy Playing Surfaces
Players & Coaches
The surface of a sports field can have a significant impact on the quality of play and the safety and health of athletes. While artificial turf fields offer almost year-round, all-weather playability, there is growing concern about the potential risk to young players that must be considered.
Professional athletes, whose careers depend on their performance and physical condition, overwhelmingly prefer natural grass to artificial turf fields. In a survey conducted by the National Football League Players Association, 72% of players said they preferred playing on natural grass, and nearly 93% said playing on artificial turf would shorten their careers. More than 90% reported that playing on artificial turf results in more muscle soreness and fatigue, and 85% said it was more likely to contribute to serious injuries.
Men's international soccer tournaments are always played on natural grass, and recently the world champion American women's soccer team complained that U. S. Soccer was not living up to its agreement to see that the women's team played on natural grass fields whenever possible.
This preference for natural grass fields is understandable, since research shows that playing on artificial turf increases the risk of injury, exposes athletes to hazardous chemicals, and subjects them to heat-related health problems, including dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Many players concur that the heat issue impacts their ability to perform their best.